··· Down ···

He who wishes to learn must believe.

— Aristotle  <link>

A Moment’s Halt—a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste—
And Lo!—the phantom Caravan has reach’d
The Nothing it set out from—Oh, make haste!

— Omar Khayyam, from The Rubaiyat, XLVIII, tr. Edward Fitzgerald  <link>

Nothing is worth more than this day.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  <link>

A little socializing, like a little whiskey, is good. But more is not better. The sobriety of solitary silence is superior to the sloughing off of self into the social, and the value of the latter is to enhance, by way of contrast, the delights of the former. Thus spoke the introvert.

— Bill Vallicella (via)  <link>

The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life.

— Agnes Repplier  <link>

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

— Mark Twain  <link>

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.

— Vaclav Havel (via)  <link>

To depend on God alone is our true autonomy.

— Nicolas Gomez Davila (via)  <link>

Don’t you believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?

— St. Augustine, “The Trinity”  <link>

It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

— C.S. Lewis  <link>

What we choose to fight is so tiny…
When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the poem “The Watching Man”  <link>

There is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why, heaven and earth shout to you: “God made me!”

— St. Augustine, City of God, 11:22  <link>

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

— Mary Wollstonecraft  <link>

We cannot be sure whether we are loving God, although we may have good reasons for believing that we are. But we can know quite well whether we are loving our neighbor.

— St. Teresa of Avila  <link>

Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  <link>

In Order To…

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything,
Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything,
Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything,
Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything,
Desire to know nothing.

In order to arrive at that point where you take no pleasure,
you must go by a way that gives no pleasure.
In order to arrive at that point where you know nothing,
you must go by a way you do not know.
In order to arrive at that point where you are free of possessing,
you must go by a way you do not possess.
In order to arrive at that point at which you are nothing,
you must go through that which you are not.

— St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, bk I, ch 13, sect 11  <link>

Love is the eye and to love is to see.

— Richard of St. Victor  <link>

People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.

— Bob Dylan  <link>

There’s been this waiting that’s gone along with me wherever I go.

— Raymond Carver  <link>

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

— William Shakespeare, Hamlet  <link>

The Church Is Always God Hung Between Two Thieves

The church is always God hung between two thieves. Thus no one should be surprised or shocked at how badly the church has betrayed the gospel and how much it continues to do so today. It has never done very well. Conversely, however, nobody should deny the good the church has done either. It has carried grace, produced saints, morally challenged the planet, and made, however imperfectly, a house for God to dwell in on this earth.

To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers, adulterers and hypocrites of every description. It also, at the same time, identifies you with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul within every time, country, race and gender. To be a member of the church is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul….because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves.

— Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing  <link>

Changing the Church

If anyone wants to have the Church changed, he must make himself the starting-point of renewal. For the critic himself is part of what the Church is suffering from. For usually his own life is not much of a recommendation for Christianity.

— Karl Rahner, SJ, Theology for Renewal:  Bishops, Priests, Laity  <link>

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.

The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise…

Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.

— Jenkins Lloyd Jones  <link>

If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up somewhere else.

— Yogi Berra  <link>

Consider how much more often you suffer from your anger and grief than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.

— Marcus Aurelius  <link>

Not a Machine

Against the backdrop of context-dependent phenomena such as this, it is hardly possible to contend that we consist, from the bottom up, of machine-like devices. The idea reflects a dogma crystallized from a rarefied mesh of abstractions rather than an engagement with actual organisms. You might just as well find “machines” in the currents of a river. When scientists write that “Clock genes are components of the circadian clock comparable to the cogwheels of a mechanical watch,” it ought to be scandalous. Yet such machine language is universal, is heavily relied on by otherwise rigorous scientists in their attempts to explain the organism, has no evident, serviceable meaning, and working biologists rarely if ever make a serious attempt to justify or even define it.

Nor are the points at issue even particularly subtle. Here is the heart of the matter: The parts of a clock are put together in a certain way; the parts of an organism grow within an integral unity from the very start. They do not add themselves together to form a whole, but rather progressively differentiate themselves out of the prior wholeness of seed or germ. They are growing even as they begin functioning, and their functioning is a contribution toward their growing. The parts never were and never are completely separate, never are assembled. A specific bit of food taken in from outside never becomes some new, recognizable part, added to the rest; rather, it is metabolically transformed and assimilated by the ruling unity that is already there. The structures performing this work, such as they are, are themselves being formed out of the work. Does any of this sound remotely like a machine?

— Steve Talbott, “The Unbearable Wholeness of Being”  <link>

A pat on the back, though only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results.

— Bennett Cerf  <link>

The Four Classical Virtues

It is part of the legacy of Western thought your teachers cheated you from learning in school when they were busy teaching you about recycling, or some other popular fad.

— John C. Wright  <link>

The great spiritual challenge is to discover, over time, that the limited, conditional, and temporal love we receive from parents, husbands, wives, children, teachers, colleagues and friends are reflections of the unlimited, unconditional and everlasting love of God.

— Henri Nouwen  <link>

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.

— St. Augustine  <link>

Nowhere other than looking at himself in the mirror of the Cross can man better understand how much he is worth.

— St. Anthony of Padua  <link>

Science encourages legitimate human curiosity to know the universe and to admire and contemplate its beauty and goodness. In this way we enter into communion with God himself, who looked upon what He had created and saw that it was very good.

— Pope John Paul II, “Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences”, 26 Sep 1986  <link>

Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.

— St. Leo the Great  <link>

…to ask whether God or evolution created life is like asking whether Shakespeare or Hamlet killed Polonius. If there is no Shakespeare, Hamlet’s act is meaningless. It is merely the accidental arrangement of ink on a page. If there is a Shakespeare, however, his existence as the creator of the literary Denmark does not obviate the drama of the play. It is rather a necessary prerequisite for it. Shakespeare, as a playwright, is not a competitor with the drama of the play. 

— Michael Baruzzini, paraphrasing Stephen Barr, The Beauty of Creation  <link>

The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it.

— Mary Catherine Bateson  <link>

The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the “opium of the masses”—cannot hear the music of the spheres.

— Albert Einstein  <link>

From the Big Bang…

Our world is now understood to be a world where something really happens; the whole story of the world need not have been written down in the first quantum like a song on the disk of a phonograph. The whole matter of the world must have been present at the beginning, but the story it has to tell may be written step by step.

— Georges Lemaitre  <link>

When you can no longer tell your own story without telling his, that’s when you have become a Christian.

— Fr. Charles Stanley, OFM Cap., source  <link>

Science has become as full of pride and prejudice as ever religion was.

— John Macmurray  <link>

“Where is God when I sin?” I asked a spiritual director. “Suffering with you on the Cross,” he said. And I began to understand Christianity.

— Fr. Charles Stanley, OFM Cap., source  <link>

Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found the bread.

— D.T. Niles  <link>

You are sure to get out-pointed if you pick a fight with a porcupine.

— Author unknown  <link>

For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.

— C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain  <link>

I don’t think the robots are taking over. I think the men who play with toys have taken over. And if we don’t take the toys out of their hands, we’re fools.

— Ray Bradbury  <link>

By Their Very Existence…

Sometimes it is as though the praise of God filled with world; as if it went out to and enfolded all creation, as for instance in the Psalms of creation or in the response which those songs have found in the hearts of God-enraptured people such as St. Francis of Assisi. … This is not a fairy-tale approach to nature in which the sun and the moon, the trees, and so forth are personalized and given voices with which to sing the praise of God; it is an inspired poetic rendering of the idea that the sun and the moon and all created things are a mirror of God’s glory because, as His creation, they reflect something of His nature. In so doing, they praise Him by their very existence. They themselves know nothing of it, but man does; he can think himself into their silent song of praise; he can voice it on their behalf, offer it up to God and thus act as the spokesman of creation.

— Romano Guardini, The Art of Praying  <link>

Your words will tell others what you think. Your actions will tell them what you believe.

— T.D. Jakes, via Twitter  <link>

Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.

— Rumi  <link>

If there is a God, and He loves me—if that’s not just a nice thought, if there is truth in that, it will change everything.

— Matt Fradd, interview on The Journey Home  <link>

Litany Against Fear

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

— Bene Gesserit “Litany Against Fear”, Frank Herbert, Dune  <link>

Silence is not the absence of sound; it is the freedom to listen to God.

— Author unknown  <link>

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

— Simone Weil  <link>

i can’t write like that. i can’t string my words like pearls like you do. i just spill them on the floor, where you eventually trip over them. i don’t know how to express my emotions in ways other than This Happened and I Felt. most days, i feel awkward and juvenile and plain.

maybe that’s why i don’t say as much. i just sit back and listen and watch and imagine and feel. sometimes i feel too much and it overwhelms me, and i am paralyzed. stunned.

and like most everything else, this has nothing to do with anything at all. what i really want to say is stuck at the tip of my tongue, at the edge of my mind, right there, but i can’t think of the right words.

i can’t think of any words.

i just wish i could open the door to my insides and let you see for yourself.

— Christine Castro Hughes, “Fragment #100”  <link>

A prayerless life is one of practical atheism.

— Gordon Fee, Paul, the Spirit and the People of God, p.149  <link>

Perhaps the crucial feature of addiction is the progressive replacement of people by things.

— Damian Thompson, The Fix  <link>


We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.

— J.R.R. Tolkien  <link>

You wear a mask and your face grows to fit it.

— George Orwell  <link>

It’s my belief that sanity lies in realizing that reality is not exactly what we had in mind.

— Roy Blount, Jr.  <link>